CHELSEA MANAGER ANTONIO Conte has countered claims from Cesc Fabregas that Eden Hazard must add a selfish streak to his game in order to match the levels of Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Belgium star Hazard has returned to his sparkling best form this season, contributing 14 goals and five assists to Chelsea’s charge towards a fifth Premier League title in 12 years.
Speaking after Hazard scored and assisted in Saturday’s 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham, Fabregas claimed that only Messi was performing better than Hazard, but added: “I’ve told him many, many times he needs to be selfish sometimes and have that killer instinct to score more goals.”
When the quote was put to Conte, however, the Italian suggested that he would rather lose games if it meant Hazard stopped pulling his weight for the wider effort.
“No, absolutely no; I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player,” said Conte.
The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent in the team, because the best players don’t exist without the team. For me it’s sad when I listen to this, that one player must be more selfish to reach the top level.
“It’s sad because it’s not my idea of football. I will never understand this, never.
In my team I don’t want a selfish player, I would prefer to lose the game than have a selfish player.
“I don’t want this and I can’t accept this and I don’t want it in my club.”
Hazard came off the bench to devastating effect at Wembley at the weekend, scoring the Blues’ crucial third goal before teeing up Nemanja Matic’s late thunderbolt.
Diego Costa joined the Belgian in being spared from the start against Spurs, but Conte expects to have the pair back at Southampton on Tuesday after praising their reaction to being dropped.
“For sure, every single player wants to play every game, I know this,” he added ahead of a match that sees Chelsea return to Premier League action with a four-point lead over Spurs.
But also there is a manager in every team that must make the best decision in this situation to find the right balance and also to give the chance to other players that show great commitment, great work-rate and great desire to play.
“But their reaction was good, for me the reaction was normal.
“I have another day to decide our best 11, but I think that they [Costa and Hazard] are in good condition and in good form and for sure I hope to see a good performance from my players.”
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